Sunday, May 31, 2015

Rabbi Israel Lipschitz

"Whenever a person enters a Beit Midrash, be it during the long nights of Tevet or the blazing hot days of Tammuz, he sees Jews sitting around a table, or perhaps in a corner, studying a chapter of Mishnayot or discussing the words of the Tannaim. Who has made the Mishnah such a popular book, understandable by all? Without a doubt, it has been Rabbi Israel Lipschitz, the renowned commentator of the Mishnah. It was he who spread its teachings to all Jews.

The son of Rabbi Gedaliah, Rabbi Israel Lipschitz was born in 1782 in the city of Hazdeutsch. He was the grandson of Rabbi Israel Lipschitz, the Av Beit Din of Kliva, known for the get that he established in Kliva and who in his lifetime become very famous.

From his earliest years, the boy distinguished himself by the scope of his intelligence and his profound humility. Among other languages, he learned Greek and Latin, which he used to explain difficult words in the Mishnah.

When Rabbi Israel Lipschitz married, he assumed the rabbinate and became the Rav of the following cities: Dessau, Schotland, Weinberg, Langfurt, and finally Danzig and its province near the end of his life."


Friday, May 29, 2015

KAJ Kollel Breakfast

Sunday, May 31, 9 AM
90 Bennett Ave., Washington Heights Manhattan

Write to to attend

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Contemporary Germany

I found a fascinating video about life in contemporary Germany. Two British journalists go to Nuremberg and try to be average Germans. They come out with this sense of a very well run, sensible country.

Some findings:

A German factory worker with an average salary will get 30 vacation days a year
The typical mother of a three year old child stays home to raise the child.
Germans work hard but only for 7 hours. During those 7, they don't chat or go to facebook. But they don't work frantically either.
You can get a really nice multi-bedroom apartment for $500 a month.
Half of German youth go into apprenticeship programs for industrial work.
Day care is extremely inexpensive.
Germans are big on clubs. They have 1/2 million of them.
They are big on rules and correct each other often, eg how to drive, being on time, etc.
Not only is there no stigma against stay at home moms, there is a stigma against moms of small children who go out to work.
Credit cards are unpopular. Germans save 10% of their income verses 1% in Britain. The German word for debt is guilt.
There's a big emphasis on parents, particularly mothers, spending time with children.
There's much more small business,  focus on quality, and group pride in work.
By law, Sunday is a religious day and shops are shut. And there are actual fines for disturbing neighbors on that day.
1/2 of the country is religious!

One of the British journalists compares all this to Britain and note that the British are not as hardworking or community oriented. The lady journalist complains endlessly about feminist issues. You can be your own judge of that. I found her complaints rather shallow and one-sided.

I'm seeing that America gets much of its decadence from Britain or maybe it's the reverse.

Compare all this to America with our 10 hour work days, double income families, insane housing costs, and obsession with making a religion out of the liberal arts education.

What a tragedy that these people are also capable of a Holocaust because otherwise we can learn   from them. Of course, it's a very big otherwise.

Now, there must be another side to the story too. The low marriage rate is not mentioned. Rather, lack of inclusion of non-native Germans is highlighted by these very liberal journalists as a criticism. And I guess it is although I suspect that cultural clash is part of the problem there. Neither is mentioned bizarre moves like exemption Moslem children from education in the history of the Holocaust that is required of other German children. I'm sure there's lots that this documentary left out because like most journalism they were trying to be shocking via exaggeration. But we still can learn from the video a bit about the German economic machine and how it connects to traditional German values. And we see some of those values in the German Orthodox community.

Maybe it's exactly as R' Hirsch says, life run without a Torah mesorah can turn on you in a flash. Your strengths become your weaknesses.

Here's the video. Skip 6 - 6:50 and 54:20 -54:30 and 55:40-55:50 and 57:54-58:00 which aren't so modest. There are occasional references to Xianity.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Washing machines in Halacha - R' Moshe Brody

(posted with permission) from

by R' Moshe Brody

Washing machine and dryer shailos: if someone has some soiled or wet clothing on erev Shabbos-may they put those clothes into the washing machine/dryer even though the machine will finish its work on Shabbos?


1)    There is a Mishna in Shabbos 17b which records a machlokes between Bais Shammai and Bais Hillel. Bais Shammai said that one may not start to soak dyes…or set traps before Shabbos if the trapping or dying will occur on Shabbos. However Bais Hillel permitted it.[1] The Tur (siman 252) records the Halacha in accordance with Bais Hillel and (ibid: 1) extends this Halacha to permit any act that begins before Shabbos and continues into Shabbos. Based on this, being that one places the clothing into the washer or dryer erev Shabbos, it should be permitted to allow the machines to proceed on their own during Shabbos. However the matter is not that simple.
2)    The Gemara (18a)[2] records a braissa that says the following: one may not place wheat into a watermill erev Shabbos unless the grinding can be completed before Shabbos. There is a machlokes between Rav Yosef and Rabah what the reason to assur is. Rav Yosef says that one cannot allow the mill to work being that the mill belongs to a Jew and a Jew is commanded to keep his machines off on Shabbos. (shevisas Keilim) Rabah says the reason is because the watermill creates noise and one cannot allow his objects to create noise on Shabbos (avsha milsa) being that it is a zilzul Shabbos. The Gemara there adds that according to Bais Hillel the reason of Rav Yosef does not stand. For Bais Hillel disagrees with the premise that a Jew is commanded to keep his machines from working for him on Shabbos and holds that one may allow his machines to work for him on shabbos. Based on this, the Bais Yosef (252:5) and others says, theoretically, being that we rule like Bais Hillel, if we were to say that the reason for the braissa to assur a water mill is based on shevisas keilim, and lihalacha we don’t worry about shevisas keilim, then one would be permitted to set up a water mill erev Shabbos and let it run into Shabbos as well.
3)    How do the Rishonim pasken? Rabbenu Tam ruled like Rav Yosef and therefore was matir the use of machines that even make noise on Shabbos. The Bais Yosef argues that this is the opinion of the Rif and Ramba”m as well. [3] However Tosfos, the Rosh and many other Rishonim pasken like Rabbah.[4] How do we Pasken?
4)    The Bais Yosef (ibid) rules that since the Ramba”m, Rif (in his, as well as the Rivash’s, view) and Rabbenu Tam all rule like Rav Yosef, and we reject the premise of Rav Yosef, we therefore allow all types of machines, even those that make noise, to be set to work on Shabbos. However in communities that are noihag to be machmir, we are machmir as well. The Ram”a in the Darchei Moshe however takes the opposite view-that we should be machmir like all those Rishonim who are machmir except in those communities that have a tradition to be maikel. He further buttresses this argument with the ruling of the Mahr”i ve`il who said that one should not set a clock which chimes before Shabbos because of this gemara.
The Halacha:
5)    How does the Shulchan Aruch pasken? As he argues in the Bais Yosef, the mechaber (ibid) paskens that it is permitted to place wheat into a watermill before Shabbos and let it run on Shabbos. The Ram”a adds the reasoning is because we are not choishaish for noise here and in general (according to the opinion of the mechaber) we do not restrict noise making machines set before Shabbos to run on Shabbos. However then the Ram”a records the opposing opinion and says that one should be machmir lichatchila (meaning we do not allow noise making machines to be set erev Shabbos to work by themselves on Shabbos). However if there will be a loss of money due to this restriction, one may be maikel.[5]
6)    Based on this, it would seem that an Ashkenazi should be machmir not to place soiled or wet clothing into a washing machine or dryer before Shabbos even if it will go by itself on Shabbos. However let’s take a deeper look at the issue.
7)    The Darchei Moshe quotes an opposing view to the Mahri Ve`il who forbade the use of chiming clocks on Shabbos because of noise-that of the Agur. The Agur[6] argues that although one may not place wheat into a watermill because of the concern of noise making on Shabbos, nonetheless, one is permitted to set a clock and that the two are not the same. The distinction, says the Agur, is that here by the clock, everyone knows that when a person sets a clock-he wound it up yesterday and therefore there is no zilzul Shabbos in letting it run. However in regards to wheat-being that people may put the wheat into the grinder on Shabbos, allowing it to run into Shabbos may cause a person to suspect that you put it in on Shabbos and therefore is a zilzul Shabbos.[7] This is in fact the way the Ram”a rules and therefore permits one to set a clock to chime on shabbos.
8)    If this is the Halacha, one may argue, that since we all know that one is not permitted to use machines like this on Shabbos, it would be mutar to place the clothing in them on Shabbos. However on the other hand, one can argue that in fact it is exactly the same as the case of the gemara with the wheat. For by the wheat- everyone knows that one is not permitted to place wheat into the grinder and we still say according to the Ram”a that it is assur. How then do we pasken?
Halacha limasseh:
9)    Limasseh Rav Moshe zatza”l (OC vol. 5:22) and Rav Shlomo Zalman zatza”l (Minchas Shlomo 10:2) both ruled that for Ashkenazim, one may not place wet or soiled clothing into a washing machine or dryer before Shabbos so that it work on Shabbos because of the chashash of the Ram”a. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yichave Daas 3:18) on the other hand ruled that for sefardim it would be permitted since they rule like the mechaber.
10)                       However as stated previously, if there is a chashash hefsaid, even an Ashkenazi would be permitted to place the clothing into the washer/dryer. Thus for example, if one had a some dirty clothing with some smell or stain that if not washed now-would become permanent and you need to do it now-then it would be permitted to wash the clothing now so that you do not incur a loss.
11)                       Furthermore, from the language of the Ram”a who says that one may not use a machine that makes noise on Shabbos lichatchila-its mashma that bideved (or shas hadchack kidieved dami)-that one would not need to be machmir. This is all the more so if the wash will finish during bain hashamhos (which according to Rav Moshe is up to 40 minutes after shkia for things which are midirabbanan) being that one could be maikel for a tzoraich gadol on dirabbanans during bain hashmashos. (see siman 342) Thus for example if someone needed some kind of shirt dried before the end of Shabbos (he needs to go on a date/meeting on motzai Shabbos and this is his last shirt or he is in a bungalow colony with a limited number of machines and every minute is of the essence) then it would be permitted to place the clothing into the dryer etc. so that it be ready for motzai Shabbos.[8] Otherwise one should stay away from putting up a load that will conclude on Shabbos.
Why then are air conditioners used on Shabbos?
12)                       This point about the washing machines being assur to run into Shabbos led me to ponder the following question: if we say that washing machines and dryers are assur to run into Shabbos because they make noise-why don’t we say the same thing in regards to air conditioners? Why do we allow air conditioners to be set before Shabbos and run on Shabbos if they make noise as well?[9]
13)                       I asked this shaila to Rav Belsky shilit”a who answered me with following and which has added a new dimension to the issur of avsha milsa. He said that the issur of avsha milsa is zilzul Shabbos, but what is the zilzul Shabbos? Is it merely that it disturbs the menucha of Shabbos or something much greater than that? Rav Belsky said that what is wrong with zilzul Shabbos is that it looks like you may have done a melacha on Shabbos. That is, said Rav Belsky- through the noise-people may come to think that you have performed a forbidden act on Shabbos. If this is the case, it makes sense only where the action being done is actually a melacha. However if there is no melecha being done in the noise creating action-then it is permitted. For example-cooling air in an air conditioner. The actual process of cooling does not involve any issur. This would explain why everyone keeps on their air conditioners on during the summer even though there is noise being created at the time that the compressor is going.[10]
14)                       This explanation adds much to the Agur and why alarm clocks should be mutar. Again, the same sevara applies here- there is no particular issur of noise creation if a melacha is not being done here. However by washing machines where there is an issur of kvisa taking place-it is assur. The same would apply to dishwashers as well being that dishwashers are doing an action of heating hot water. Furthermore said Rav Belsky, if one has an alarm clock that plays music and the like, being that music is assur to create on Shabbos-it would be assur because of avsha milsa. However a plain noise should be permitted.[11]
How about a load that has already finished before Shabbos but was left in the dryer-can one remove it on Shabbos if he needs the clothing?
15)                       If it is the case that it is forbidden to start a wash or dryer if it will run into Shabbos-let’s say that the load is finished in the dryer and you forgot to take out the load erev Shabbos-are you allowed to open the machine on Shabbos and take out the dried clothes? Let’s see.
16)                       We all know that there is a category of muktza called a kli shemilachto liisur (see siman 308:3). That is, a vessel/tool/machine that is used to do something that is assur on Shabbos. For example-a washing machine. A washing machine is called a kli shemilachto lissur since the machine washes clothes which is a melacha of kibus. (see siman 302:9) While a kli shemilachto lissur is considered muktza and may not be moved, it does have some level of leniency being that it could be moved litzorech gufo (meaning to do something that is permitted on Shabbos-for example a hammer to be used to crack open nuts) or mikomo (I need to move the hammer because I want to use the space underneath).
17)                       The question is: when a person moves the door of a machine-is that permitted being that I am not moving the machine itself or is it assur being that it is part of the machine? The question is not addressed directly in the Shulchan Aruch but the poskim deduce from a few places that it is considered like moving the actual item.
a)     For example, the Halacha is (siman 311:7) that one may not even move a single part of a corpse (except where it is lying in the sun and may begin to decompose etc. where Chaza”l allowed a person to place a cookie or child on/near it and move both-see 311:1) even if one does not move the entire corpse. Thus we see that even a part of something which is muktza is also considered muktza.
b)    Furthermore, the Halacha is (siman 308:40) that one may move an animal in a courtyard by schlepping it by its sides and neck if the animal needs it (that is; it will be tzar ballai chaim if not moved). If the animal does not need it, one would not be allowed to move even a part of it. The reason is, writes the Mishna Berura (siman 308:151) is that “anything that is assur to move (because of muktza), the same way one cannot move the whole object, so too one cannot move a part of the object”. Thus we see clearly that if one cannot move muktza, one cannot move its parts as well. Based on this, one would not be permitted to open the door of the dryer as well.[12]
18)                       Thus now that we have concluded that the Halacha is that one cannot move the door of a washing machine because it is muktza, if someone left some clothing in the machine fully dried before Shabbos, can they remove the items from the machine or not?
19)                       Rav Moshe Feinstein, is quoted (Halchos of Muktza by Rabbi Pinchos Bodner CH 2:D:9) as allowing one to open the dryer to remove ones clothing from it being that opening the door to remove the clothing from inside is litzoraich mikomo and permitted.[13] However to close the door, one should only do so if the door is stopping one from walking somewhere or just generally “in the way”. If it isn’t, but one has a reason why he wants it closed, may close it with his knee or elbow (tiltul bigufo).

[1] “ב”ש אומרים אין שורין דיו וסמנים וכרשינין אלא כדי שישורו מבעוד יום וב”ה מתירין ב”ש אומרים אין נותנין אונין של פשתן לתוך התנור אלא כדי שיהבילו מבעוד יום ולא את הצמר ליורה אלא כדי שיקלוט העין וב”ה מתירין ב”ש אומרים אין פורסין מצודות חיה ועופות ודגים אלא כדי שיצודו מבעוד יום וב”ה מתירין ב”ש אומרים אין מוכרין לנכרי ואין טוענין עמו ואין מגביהין עליו אלא כדי שיגיע למקום קרוב ובית הלל מתירין ב”ש אומרים אין נותנין עורות לעבדן ולא כלים לכובס נכרי אלא כדי שיעשו מבעוד יום ובכולן בית הלל מתירין עם השמש..”עכ”ל
[2] וז”ל שם …אבל אין נותנין חטין לתוך הריחים של מים אלא בכדי שיטחנו מבעוד יום. מאי טעמא? – אמר רבה: מפני שמשמעת קול. אמר ליה רב יוסף: ולימא מר משום שביתת כלים! דתניא: ובכל אשר אמרתי אליכם תשמרו – לרבות שביתת כלים. אלא אמר רב יוסף: משום שביתת כלים… השתא דאמר רב אושעיא אמר רב אסי: מאן תנא שביתת כלים דאורייתא – בית שמאי היא ולא בית הלל. לבית שמאי, בין דקעביד מעשה בין דלא קעביד מעשה – אסור. לבית הלל, אף על גב דקעביד מעשה – שרי.
[3] וטעם למה פסק ר”ת כך הוא משום שרב אושעיא פסק כוותיה. ע’ ברשב”א שמאריך בראייתו. וכתב הרשב”א ולפי”ז כיון שאידחי דברי ר’ יוסף נראה שאין צריך להחמיר למנוע מלעשות איזה פעולות בערב שבת שיבא לתוך שבת מחמת אוושא מילתא. וכן הביא הרשב”א והב”י שכן סבר הרי”ף שאין צריך להחמיר כיון שהרי”ף הביא שתי סברות של רבה ור’ יוסף ולא הכריע (אע”ג שבהשלמה הביא שסבר הרי”ף כדעת רבה). והביא הב”י שכן הוא דעת הרמב”ם כיון שאינו הביא הדין בכלל-הטעם היה מפני שה היה נדחה מההלכה. (מיהו ע’ בריטב”א שכתב שנראה מדברי הרבמ”ם שפסק כרבה) וע’ בהערות על הרשב”א ממוסד הרב קוק (# 500) שהביא שכן הוא ג”כ דעת הבעה”מ והמרדכי וראי”ז
[4] וכן הביא שם בתוס’ והרבה ראשונים בשם ר”ח (ובריטב”א גם בשם הגאונים) שיש להחמיר כרבה. והטעם שבמחלוקת רבה ור’ יוסף הלכה כרבה. ודחה ראית ר”ת וכתבו שמה שאמר הגמ’ בשם רב אושעיא (הושעיא) אינו נכון ורק הגמ’ אומר כן שרב יוסף הוא כב”ש ולא היה רב אושעיא שאמר כך. ואולי סבר רב אושעיא כב”ה וכטעם דרבה. וע’ ברשב”א שהביא ראיה לדברי ר”ח מהתוספתא. והביאו הגר”א ג”כ. ומיהו ע’ בביה”ל ד”ה והכי נהוג שכתב שאעפ”כ במקום שנוהגין להקל אין למחות בידם. וע’ בטור שג”כ פסק כרבה וע’ שם שנראה הטעם מפני שאוושא מילתא טפי איכא זילותא דשבתא. ואולי מה שהוסיף “טפי” ר”ל שאולי לא היה כ”כ טעם להחמיר כאן ורק מפני שיש אוושא מילתא טפי-לכן יש להחמיר כדעת רבה.
[5] ע’ במ”א ס”ק כא שהביא הטעם להחמיר הוא מפני שיש מחלוקת בסוגיא ובראשונים יש להחמיר לכתחילה אבל במקום פסידא יש להקל. ועי”ש שדחה דברי הע”ש שפירש שגם התוספות שפסק כרבה יודה שבמקופ פסידא יש להקל.
[6] ובאמת גם תוס’ מחלק כך בשבת דף יז: שכתב התם לחלק בין דין זה של ריחים אליבא דר’ יוסף לדין של ר”ת שרצה להתיר לנכרים לבנות ביתו בקבלנות-שהתם בריחים הכל יודעים שעושה מעצמו וגם יודעים כו”ע שהונחו שם מע”ש צשא”כ בקבלנות שיכול לומר שעשה הכל היום. והוא פלא שר”ת הביא דין זה של ריחים מר’ יוסף-הלא אחר שיטת ר’ יוסף הטעם למה זה מותר הוא מטעם שאין אנו חוששין לטעם של שביתת כלים כדעת ב”ה וא”כ אין הריחים שונה משאר דינים של המשנה כאן שמותר להתחיל מע”ש ולסיימו מעצמו בשבת. ולמה הוצרך להביא ראיה מרחיים?
[7] מכאן נראה שסובר המר”י מקורבי”ל שאיסור של אוושא מילתא אינו מטעם שהקול מרעיש ומבלבל המנוחה של שבת-רק האיסור הוא מטעם חשש שמא עשה מעשה בשבת. ולפי”ז אם לא יחוש לזה אולי יש להתיר.
[8] וכך מצאתי אח”כ בשו”ת אור לציון ב:טז:י וברוך שככונתי.
[9] ובאמת יש לומר כמו שכתב בשם החזו”א שהתיר גענראטור להפעיל בשבת אע”פ שמרעיש הרבה מפני (הלכות שבת בשבת א:ב: הערה 32) שהדרך הוא להעמידו ולכוונו מערב שבת. וכן הכא כיון שהדרך להעמידו בכל שבת לית ביה משום איסור השמעת קול-דודאי יסבור שהכינו מערב שבת.
[10] ומ”מ צ”ע שהלא גם בכה”ג יש איסור שבת של פעילת מכונית וצ”ע. ומיהו כדברי רבינו יש להביא מלשון הב”ח שכתב “ברייתא שם ואליבא דרבה דאף על פי דבריחיים של מים אין שם אלא משום שביתת כלים דשרי לבית הלל אפילו הכי כיון שמשמעת קול ואוושא מילתא דיאמרו ריחיים של פלוני עושין מלאכה בשבת איכא זילותא דשבתא מיהו לפי זה משמע דבריחיים של גוי שרי אבל לדעת הרוקח אפילו בשל גוי אסור…עכ”ל
[11] וכך ביאר הרב בעלסקי שליט”א דברי המר”י וויל שאסר להכן זייגר בשבת מחמת אוששא מילתא-שהכא במאי אסקינן שהיה איזה שיר שיצא מן הזייגר ולא רק צלצל בלבד.
[12] ויש לעיין במה שאמר שם במ”ב סימן שב סע’ יא ד”ה מקנחה שרצה לומר בדרך אפשר ששער בבהמה אינו מקרי מחובר לבהמה ומותר לטלטלה ולנענע אותה בעודה מחובר לבהמה וצ”ע א”כ מצינו שיש פעמים שדבר שמקושר לדבר אחר “אינו מקרי מחובר” וצ”ע.
ובאמת העיר הרב נחום רויטמאן נ”י שלכאורה יש לחלק בין זה וממה שהבאנו משו”ע וממ”ב שהתם הוא גוף אחד ממש משא”כ הכא הלא הוא שני גופים נפרדים שמחוברים יחד ושיכול לסלקו. וגם שאל-דלפי”ז היה לן לומר שאסור לפתוח דלת של התנור (אפ’ אם הוא סגור עכשיו) כיון שהתנור הוא כלי שמלאכתו לאיסור שהוא מוקצה? ויש לומר אה”נ ורק מפני שאם יש איזה מאכלים בתוכו מותר לפותחו כיון שהוא לצורך מקומו כמו שהעיר רב משה ורק לסוגרו אם צריך מקומו או בטלטול בגופו. וצ”ע
[13] והטעם שמה שמונע את עצמי מיקח הבגדים הוא מפני הדלת שמפסיק ביני לבין הבגדים ולכן יש להתיר

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

R Miller on Secular Education


It’s a question of limudei chol (secular education).

In Frankurt-am-Main they taught limudei chol in the school of the frum Jews. A man who went there told me once that he learned more Yiras Shamayim (fear of Heaven) from his science teacher there than he learned from his rebbe, because......the science teacher utilized all the lessons to talk about Yiras Shamayim. It’s possible for a teacher to inject now and then certain thoughts in the minds of students that will give them more benefit than what they heard in the mesivta where the rebbe was teaching Gemara and Halacha (Jewish law).

If you’re learned already—you know Mussar, you learn Halacha —and you want an encyclopedia in order to use it to help other people become frum using the information that you might pick up, go ahead and do it. Otherwise forget about it, because you’re not capable of dealing with the Apikorsus (heresy) in these books.

I personally think limudei chol are a good thing if they’re done in a kosher way, because limudei chol leads you to Yiras Hashem if it’s done right. If you’re capable of distinguishing, then it’s alright, but most people shouldn’t bother bringing any other books in their houses, because they’re not capable. Children will read them and they’ll make a wrong impression.

A man once brought me some books. I put them in my bathroom and I keep them there. I get benefit out of them, but he wouldn’t get any benefit from them. (#E-083, Learning to Live Successfully)"

These and These

Link to These and These by Rabbi Shimon Schwab (courtesy of Boruch Miller)

This is Rav Schwab's famous discussion of the merits of the Torah only and the Torah Im Derech Eretz paths of Judaism.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ish Yehudi - Rav Joseph Tzvi Carlebach


"Rav Joseph Tzvi Carlebach was the most prominent orthodox rabbi in Germany during the two decades before the Holocaust. His vast erudition in Torah lore as well as in secular disciplines, gained him recognition in kehillot throughout Germany and beyond. As a celebrated orator and prolific author, he invited admiration from a vast spectrum of Jewish society, besides his constitu..."

Ish Yehudi - Rav Joseph Tzvi Carlebach

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Rabbi Meir (MaHaRaM) Schiff

"The famed Posek and Talmud commentator, Rabbi Meir ben Rabbi Yaakov Schiff, lived only about thirty six years. Yet even during this short lifespan he attained high standing among the great Rabbis and Talmudic scholars of his time.

Rabbi Meir was born in Frankfort on the Abin about the year 5357 (1597). The family Schiff was one of the most prominent families in Frankfort, which had for many generations produced outstanding Rabbis and communal leaders, known both for their learning and wealth, for some of them were also successful financiers and bankers. One of the early ancestors of this family was Rabbi Yaakov Kohen-Tzedek Schiff, who was born about the year 1370, And was a Dayan (member of the Beth-Din) of Frankfort. His son Uri Faivush Schiff died at a ripe old age in 1481, according to his tombstone on the ancient Jewish cemetery in Frankfort. A later descendant, Meir Kohen Tzedek was the Parnas (head) of the community and died in 1626. Rabbi David Tevele HaKohen Schiff, who was elected Chief Rabbi of London in 1765 (d. 1792) was also a descendant of this family."


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Monday, May 11, 2015

R' Mordechai Schwab


(1911-1994), younger brother of Rav Shimon Schwab. After spending three years at the Mir yeshiva with his older brother, he learned at Kaminetz with Rav Baruch Ber Lebovitz. During World War II, he was one of the many who traveled across Russia to Japan and Shanghai. He spent several looking for work, and then working as a rebbi in yeshivos ketana. When he was over 50 years of age, he took a job as ninth grade rebbi at Beis Shraga in Monsey. About ten years later, this position developed into a full-time mashgiach. After the passing of Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky, Rav Mordechai was approached to assume the position of Rav in Reb Yaakov’s shul. He refused, later confiding in someone that he would be forced to wear a rabbinical frock, which could inspire feeling of gaavah. He is remembered by many as one who always smiled, frequently laughing, especially at himself. But, as his brother Rav Shimon stated, his externals concealed his tzidkus. Above all, he excelled at finding merit in all others he met.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Friday, May 1, 2015

Linked Post: Rav Shmuel Wosner zt”l, Oberlander Titan: His Ashkenaz side

from Treasures of Ashkenaz

Rav Shmuel Wosner zt”l, Oberlander Titan: His Ashkenaz side

"A few months ago, רבש”ה שליט”א spoke at a gathering for a new MMA affiliated minyan in ירושלים , and, in the course of his remarks, related some interactions with various gedolim over the years, with regard to Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz related activities, small excerpts of which re R. Wosner follow. He stated that Rav Wosner was most supportive and helpful, relating that when MMA opened its first shul in Bnei Brak, a week before Rosh Hashanah 5752, Rav Wosner said ‘this is a great זכות for the ימים נוראים, not just for you, but for all of כלל ישראל, that you are returning these minhogim to Klal Yisroel’….."